Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Masks: Faces of Culture

From Library Journal

Companion to an exhibition currently at the Saint Louis Art Museum, this volume is exactly what it claims to be: a survey of the phenomenon of masks. On the surface, this may seem to be a simple undertaking, but it is not. Mask-making is a deeply human endeavor fraught with meanings. Starting with prehistory and extending to the present age, this book thoroughly examines the many reasons for making and wearing masks. Rites of passage, warfare, and drama are all addressed, from the earliest known examples in Egypt, Australia, and MesoAmerica to football helmets and Star Wars characters in the present day. Six fascinating essays, including contributions by John Emigh (theater, Brown Univ.) and Lesley Ferris (theater, Ohio State Univ.), are interconnected by stunning illustrations. This is definitely the book for anyone wishing to sample the subject. Highly recommended. A Susan M. Olcott, Columbus, OH

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